Racial Justice

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

For years, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have been working on strategies so police officers aren’t the primary people responding to 911 mental health calls. After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in Albuquerque—and just days after police shot a man in crisis, hospitalizing him—Mayor Tim Keller announced today that the city will create a separate Community Safety Department to handle these kinds of call-outs by the end of the year—without taking funding from the police department. It’s unclear what the city will do to respond to the rest of the protesters’ demands around over-policing, and calls to defund and demilitarize the police.

Nash Jones / KUNM


The country is grappling with practical steps for ending police brutality and racism in policing. We explore some local ideas in episode 74, from completely burning down the system to moderate reform to minor policy changes. Community and Black Lives Matter organizers, Albuquerque’s mayor and City Councilor Lan Sena, and activists who work with and against police weigh in on what the future of public safety could look like.

Megan Kamerick

George Floyd was laid to rest in Houston this week, and protests calling for an end to racist police violence are continuing around the country and here in New Mexico. These are usually pretty loud, but one that took place in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill  on Wednesday, June 10 was quite different.

Sue Schuurman

In episode 73, we talk to and about militia groups in New Mexico that have floated around the edges of demonstrations against racist police violence and white supremacy. Robert Whitmon of the American Patriots of New Mexico, one such group, says they've been working with police for years. Regardless of their claims of support for protesters, demonstrators say they raise tension and anxiety, and they're already concerned about state-sanctioned violence and the possibility of retribution for speaking out. 

Pax Ahimsa Gethen / Wikimedia Commons


Let's Talk New Mexico 6/11, 8a: June is Pride month, and in the midst of mass demonstrations for racial justice and an ongoing pandemic, this year’s celebration will undoubtedly look different. On this week's call-in show, we look at the black roots of Pride, including the 1969 Stonewall uprising that paved the way for LGBTQ rights today. We’ll hear about the contributions of Black and Brown trans and cis women, and trans people of other genders, in the local and global Pride movement. And we'll ask how the Black Lives Matter movement influences this year’s events. We want to hear from you! How do you celebrate Pride? Email letstalk@kunm.org, use the hashtag #LetsTalkNM on Twitter, or call in live during the show at 277-5866.

Groups of armed civilians have turned up at Albuquerque Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the last week, alarming peaceful protesters, and saying they intend to protect private property as well as people and their right to peacefully protest. A man from the New Mexico Patriots says his group has coordinated with police about patrolling these demonstrations. Several Albuquerque Police officers met with a group of armed local MMA fighters ahead of a protest on Monday, June 1.

UNM Center For Southwest Research

On Friday night, June 5, Amelia Brown says they and their friend were shot at by two unidentified men outside Presbyterian Hospital on Central at 9:15 p.m. Brown helped coordinate supplies for a Black Lives Matter protest on June 1 in Albuquerque, and has attended several marches in the last couple weeks. On Friday evening, they were walking to a vigil at UNM, from the site of another demonstration at Civic Plaza downtown that they say had ended before they arrived. Brown says they don’t know who shot at them, but that they are one of several local black activists being targeted and surveilled by both police and groups of armed civilians in recent days.

Nash Jones / KUNM

Most of the demonstrations calling for justice and an end to racist police violence in New Mexico over the last two weeks have been in Albuquerque. On Saturday morning, the more conservative, western suburb of Rio Rancho held its own demonstration with about 100 people gathering on the steps of City Hall. 

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

Hundreds of masked protesters in white coats, green scrubs, and street clothes gathered six feet apart for a "die-in" yesterday outside the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library to highlight anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism embedded in the health care system. Protesters honored the memory of George Floyd, denounced police brutality and white supremacy in medicine, and demanded change in their institution.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The work of recognizing and confronting racism – in oneself, others, and the system – is difficult and uncomfortable. In episode 72, we talk about the bitter work we are all being asked to do in this time of uprising. We hear from the founder of an inclusive leadership organization, a UNM professor, a socialist community organizer in Albuquerque, a media consultant in Washington, D.C., and we have part two of Khalil’s conversation with his father.

David_Axe / Creative Commons


The militarization of local police forces has been on display as anti-riot squads have responded to Black Lives Matter protests in cities across the country. Monique Salhab of Albuquerque is a military veteran who fought in the Middle East. She now sits on the National Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace. She spoke with KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona about the rise in military-style tactics among police and what it feels like to fight for justice amid a pandemic.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

We are nearly halfway through the year of 2020, it is June and reality is forever changed. While learning to adjust to life during a global pandemic, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has given rise to protests globally. In Episode 71, we talk about what it takes to safely navigate a pandemic and the beginnings of a revolution. It’s a heavy lift. Today we talk with a military veteran, a few activists and educators, and host Khalil Ekulona’s dad to get a deeper perspective. 

Nash Jones / KUNM


Advocates are calling on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to release Clifton White, a black man in Albuquerque who was arrested on an administrative parole violation Monday. His wife Selinda Guerrero, a Black Lives Matter organizer, says his arrest is retaliation for her and her husbands’ activism for prisoners’ rights and for organizing police watches in their community. White’s arrest came days after four teenagers were detained by Albuquerque police following the Black Lives Matter protest in the International District on Thursday, May 28. Guerrero told KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona APD took the teens away and left the teen’s car in the street, so her husband drove it home for safekeeping.

 

still from video by Shaun Griswold

Just blocks from a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Albuquerque on May 28, two black teenagers and two Hispanic teenagers were pulled from a car by Albuquerque police officers in riot gear. They say they were threatened by police— until some protestors arrived on the scene. The youth were taken into custody but released hours later without being charged. Police say they suspect them of firing shots near the protest, an allegation they deny. APD reports they recovered no weapons at the scene. KUNM's Khalil Ekulona spoke with 18-year-old Noah Tapia about his run-in with militarized officers.

Hannah Colton / KUNM


Police violence takes many forms, and some communities in Albuquerque experience it much more than others. On Let's Talk New Mexico this week, we'll hear about how law enforcement has responded to Black Lives Matter protests over the last week in Albuquerque. How do you see police operating in your community? What needs to happen to end racist police violence in New Mexico? Join the conversation by emailing letstalk@kunm.org, or call in live at 277-5866.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Albuquerque residents have joined people around the world in protest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In the media, peaceful demonstrations have been conflated with property damage done by smaller groups of people, playing into narratives that give rise to aggressive responses like what the Trump administration is pushing. In episode 70, we talk about how law enforcement responses to recent protests seem to differ for different groups. We speak with an organizer, a youth detained after a protest, Albuquerque Police Department leadership, and a longtime criminal justice reporter.

Screenshot of Livestream Feed / Via "Deb Haaland for Congress" Facebook Page

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland on Tuesday cancelled her election watch party to instead stream a conversation with local community leaders organizing for racial justice. During the online event called “Be Fierce: Say Their Names," the congresswoman expressed solidarity with the organizers who said they envision continuing their work through protest and creating spaces for people of color.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

After hundreds of people demonstrated peacefully on and around the University of New Mexico campus Monday night, armed militia men showed up along Albuquerque’s Central Ave., causing fear and confusion among Black Lives Matter protesters heading home. Around the same time, a shot was heard in the area; police later said it was fireworks. No injuries or arrests were reported as of early Tuesday.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After thousands of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters dispersed on Sunday night, some people remained downtown in Albuquerque, driving their cars, playing music on their systems and displaying anti-police violence signs. Later, after they were gone too, 100 or 200 people remained, most not in vehicles, breaking windows and looting. Riot police showed up, and the Albuquerque Police Department says someone fired on them in front of the KiMo Theatre. No injuries have been reported. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

Thousands participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Albuquerque Sunday night in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Organizers handed out bags of donation-funded supplies to help participants feel safer demonstrating during the pandemic. 

Shaun Griswold

Joining national protests against racist police violence, hundreds of people in Albuquerque participated in a Black Lives Matter car rally Thursday evening, May 28. Near the end of the rally, the Albuquerque Police Department deployed their riot teams, with military-grade equipment, and took into custody four teenagers of color after gunshots were fired nearby. They were not charged and were later released. Their detainment sparked a police altercation with demonstrators. The escalated police response to unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters stands in contrast to the lack of visible police presence at an anti-shutdown demonstration that included armed white protesters on Civic Plaza last month.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/28, 8a: Many of the people protesting COVID-related restrictions around New Mexico are white, while the virus has disproportionately impacted Native communities. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we look at how whiteness plays into anti-shutdown responses in towns that border tribal communities.

CABQ GovTV

Since the coronavirus reached the U.S. after being first detected in China last year, there’s been a spike in cases of xenophobia and discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans across the nation. Albuquerque’s newest city councilor Lan Sena met with local Asian American community leaders this week to hear concerns and offer support. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission will hold a series of public hearings throughout March to gather reports of mistreatment of Native American students in K-12 schools in and around the Navajo Nation. 

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